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I would like to share with you all my original piece that I performed at the Listen To Your Mother: Charleston show that was held Sunday, May 4, 2014 in Charleston, SC at The Footlight Players Theatre. I hope you all enjoy it as much I enjoyed sharing it. Happy Mother's Day! 

Home is in my heart, and there is more than enough space for all of you.
Home is in my heart, and there is more than enough space for all of you.

My Dearest Children,

How deeply I love all eight of you. It’s amazing how the heart has this infinite capacity to love.

Over a decade ago, we settled down in our first home. After bouncing from one apartment to the next, our family—mom, dad, 2 children and one on the way—took root. And for 12 years, those roots nestled deeply into that home, and our family grew.

Home has always been an important issue to me. Growing up as a mixed race child who was born in Florida, lived in South Carolina, but whose family was from Louisiana wasn’t easy. I was displaced. I had no real connection and no sense of belonging. I was viewed as an outsider, and what’s worse is I felt like one.

I remember looking at my mother as she cried while watching The Wiz. She sang along to Diana Ross’Home, tears streaming down her cheeks. It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized that my mama, too, was on a search for home. And deeper still, her mother before her, my grandmother, your great-grandmother, after losing both parents at a young age only to be passed around from one uncaring relative to the next, had been on this same quest.

You see children, this never-ending search for home has been a generational curse, and I don’t want that for you. That is why establishing a place for all of you to call home is so important to me.

But now the time has come for our family to move, to leave our home, to be uprooted, planted elsewhere. I have wondered if this move would damage us. Will the new ground provide us with the nutrients we need? Will the shock of a move prevent us from producing good fruits? Will the sadness of missing home cause us to guard our hearts, never reopening them to the possibility of a new one?

As I walked through our old home, each empty room that once housed so much love, I wondered if I taught you all enough. I wondered if I really shared what home means…what it means to me, what it should mean to you.

As I walked through our old home, each empty room that once housed so much love, I reminisced, scenes passing through my mind. And I wondered what stories this house would share If Only Walls Could Talk.

If walls could talk, they would tell you stories of love, laughter and lessons.

If walls could talk, they would tell you the beautifully turbulent love story of a young, perfectly imperfect couple who grew stronger with each test and trial, never allowing the harsh winds of life to topple them.

If walls could talk, they would share the joy felt as each new addition was carried over the threshold.

If walls could talk, they would tell you of the nights I walked into your rooms and prayed over each of you.

They would tell you of the tears of worry I cried when you were ill.

They would tell you the exact number of fevers broken, ouchies kissed and bedtime stories read.

If walls could talk, they would tell you the exact number of Hot Wheels cars that were driven across their surfaces.

They would tell you stories of Family Movie Nights and tickle fights. They would tell you of afternoons filled with never-ending Knock-Knock jokes, and how I would say, “That’s it! No more knock-knock jokes,”only to have one of you launch right into one.

Because of all of the times I sent you to “face the wall,”those walls know the exact descriptions of each of your faces to include the specific placement of each tiny freckle and mole. Because of Timeout, they’llnever forget you.

If walls could talk, they would tell you the exact number of “I love you’s” spoken, birthday candles blown out, pancake dinners made and laundry loads washed, dried and stored away.

If walls could talk, they would tell you how each of you possess at least one special characteristic that you inherited from me. Brandon, you are loyal. Noah, you are conscientious. Lauryn, you are creative. John-Paul, you are friendly. Allen-Michael, you are intelligent. Thomas, you are sensitive. Kourtney, you are strong. Chloe, you are kind-hearted. In seeing and loving you all, I have learned to see and love myself.

If walls could talk, they would tell you that they are only walls, and that neither they, nor the foundation or roof that hold them together are truly home. They would tell you that although Glenda in The Wiz is a fictional character, the words that Lena Horne spoke as she portrayed that role are true,“If we know ourselves, we’re always home…anywhere.”

I want all eight of you to know home is where the heart is. There is always enough room, plenty of space…an infinite capacity for love.

As I write this letter to you, I reflect on my own mama. And I see her, searching for a place of belonging, tears streaming down her cheeks, as she sings the words that I had seen her sing so many times before:

“And I’ve learned that we must look inside our hearts to find a world full of love like yours, like mine…like home.”

With Love and Home in my Heart,

Mama

~

How do you define home? What do you want your children to know about finding a place of belonging?

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It's no secret. I haven't exactly been thrilled about our recent move. It's taken me a minute to adjust.

And it's hard to really give yourself time to settle into your new surroundings when there's so much work that needs to be done. A lot has been tackled, but the list of To Do's ain't quite done.

In a perfect world, Grace Farrell, per Oliver Warbucks instructions, would have come to collect me from my former home and taken me to my new one where a complete staff of singing and dancing maids, butlers, chefs and groundskeepers would have been at my beck and call. I wouldn't have had to lift a finger! It would have looked something like this:

~

But in reality, there are still boxes in corners.

Boxes in corners

Artwork is propped up against walls.

Propped artwork

Piles of books and randomness sit, patiently waiting to be put in their proper places.

Books and Randomness

And with a little love and care, this chaos will eventually become my office.

Chaos to Office

There are endless loads of laundry. Dishes to wash. Meals to prepare. Groceries to buy. Bills to pay. Homework to do. The same busyness and craziness of Life that has always existed for us is still right here. Perhaps packaged a little differently, but still, exactly the same.

And so, in the unfamiliar, I have found the familiar. In the uncertainty, I have found the certain.

And in the "I'm not sure if I like it," I have found the LOVE.

Glitter Love

And after a few tears and several moments of weirdness, I can finally say...

I Guess I'm gonna like here!

How long does it take you and your family to adjust to a new rhythm? I'd love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.

The six boxes of books that I initially packed quickly multiplied. And after several trips with my van, my husband's car, my man-child's truck, my father's truck and a giant U-Haul, we've finally completed the move.

This was when it got real.
This was when it got real.

We even closed on the house. With a few scrawls of a black pen at a rounded table filled with strangers I've never met, the home, that for 12 years had become a major part of us, was no longer ours. We are now officially renters, living in a state of "in-between" until we decide what's next.

Saying goodbye wasn't easy. It still isn't.

On my final walk-through, seeing our home completely vacant was strange. It was void. Only empty spaces remained. Blank rooms were waiting to be refurnished and refilled. Walls were waiting to be repainted. Like the wall in the kitchen with the pencil etchings that marked the growth of my boys. Or the walls with the holes in the sheet rock from the kids endlessly picking at them to pass the time while in Time-Out (Have I ever mentioned that Time-Out does NOT work? But the Get-Along Shirt does!).

Empty spaces need to be filled.

The boys' room, empty and clean
The boys' room, empty and clean
The family room, minus the family
The family room, minus the family
The girls' room--No baby dolls here.
The girls' room--No baby dolls here.

On Mother's Day 2012, Aastan and the kids bought me a Magnolia tree. And exactly one week later, Aastan and I planted that tree along with my Parrain's ashes (Parrain is french for godfather. He was also my uncle.) That tree carries such meaning for me.

We dug it up, placed it in a large patio pot and took it with us...it in its temporary home and us in ours.

Aastan digging up my "Pa Tree."
Aastan digging up my "Pa Tree."
My "Pa Tree" uprooted
My "Pa Tree" uprooted

And we left behind an empty space.

Empty spaces must be filled
The space that once held a very special tree.

But empty spaces need to be filled...

So we planted a new baby Magnolia for the new homeowners to enjoy.

Aastan filling the empty space with a baby Magnolia.
Aastan filling the empty space with a baby Magnolia.

On the way to my van, I noticed another tree...Aastan's gorgeous tree we planted when we moved in all those years ago. It's full grown. We can't take it with us.

But we did enjoy a peek at it's first signs of life.

Buds for the future...a promise that Beautiful things are on the way.
Buds for the future...a promise for Beautiful things to come.

Springtime and New Beginnings are on the way!

What uncertain life changes have you gone through? How did you adjust to your new beginnings? How did you refill your empty spaces? I'd love to hear your story! Please share in the comments below.

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Books. Six boxes of books. Those were the first things I packed. And as I placed each handful into the empty cardboard containers that would become the temporary residence for our entire lives, I thought, "How blessed my children, my husband and I are to have so many books."

Freedom through books!
Freedom through books!
Books are such a beautiful privilege.
Books are such a beautiful privilege.

This whole selling, house-hunting and moving process has been a challenge. There were moments when we had no clue where we would go or where we would end up. There were odd questions and comments from the kids like, "If we can't find a house we're gonna have to live in a bush." To which another child responded, "And we'll need a peeing bush, too." Poor Chloe even broke down in tears one evening when we came home from Walmart WITHOUT having purchased a house, because apparently Walmart sells homes these days and I just didn't get the memo.

But then, we found a place. A big place. More bedrooms. More bathrooms. A spacious kitchen. A place with lots of storage, which in a child's mind means the ultimate locale for a great game of Hide-N-Seek.

I've had little excited people, eagerly packing their things and finding their place in this whole transition process.

Kourtney packs her things.
Kourtney packs her things.

We've slowly, but surely, begun to unpack things, awkwardly fumbling around unfamiliar surroundings deciding how to best utilize this blank slate.

I've started setting many things in place in the new kitchen and foyer.

Kitchen

 

Foyer

The refrigerator is even beginning to take shape.

Refigerator

I've even had time for my first bathroom selfie and a great cup of coffee!

Selfie!
Selfie!
The elixir of life!
Coffee!

But no matter how many things I set in their assigned places; no matter how many cups of coffee I drink or selfies I take, the fact remains that we have to let go of what has always been ours and find home in a rental...a house that belongs to someone else. We have to let go of a place that holds such heartfelt treasures and find some semblance of home in the interim...a temporary home.

I know we'll be alright. I know there are beautiful experiences and adventures ahead. I know it's okay to let go.

But it's tough. And it hurts a little.

So here we are finding home in a place we don't belong, windows and rooms that we're passing through. This is just a stop on the way to where we're going. I'm not afraid because I know this is our temporary home.